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Michael Avenatti Mocks 'Doctor' Michael Cohen Consulting for Drugmaker Novartis

10 May, 2018, 00:26 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Company that paid Cohen $500K scrubbed website to obscure connection to Russian oligarch

Giuliani told Fox News last week that Trump repaid Cohen, possibly unaware of the reason for the reimbursement, and therefore the transaction was not a violation of campaign finance regulations. The company made four payments totaling $200,000 from October to January, according to Avenatti's document.

A spokesperson for Novartis responded to a query I sent Tuesday night, saying: "Still chasing after this - but want to clarify for your information that any agreements with Essential Consultants were entered before our current CEO taking office in February of this year and have expired".

The relationship came to light on Tuesday, when AT&T was cited by attorney Michael Avenatti as one of the parties that made payments to Cohen's firm.

In a statement on its website, Columbus Nova claims that while Renova Group - the Russian holding company controlled by Vekselberg - is its biggest client, it is nevertheless a completely separate entity.

Novartis said it had been contacted by lawyers who were part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 presidential election and "considers this matter closed".

Columbus Nova hired Cohen as US investigators were ramping up their inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Columbus Nova is run by Vekselberg's cousin, Andrew Intrater, who had donated $250,000 to the Trump inauguration fund. At the time, AT&T was seeking government approval for its acquisition of Time Warner, CNN's parent company.

South Korea's Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (KAI) said on Wednesday it had paid US$150,000 for consulting services on accounting matters to a firm set up by U.S. President Donald Trump's private lawyer Michael Cohen.

Nestlé Pays $7.15 Billion to Sell Starbucks Coffee Grounds and K-Cups
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"They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017", the spokesman added. "Neither Viktor Vekselberg nor anyone else other than Columbus Nova's owners were involved in the decision to hire Cohen or provided funding for his engagement".

Coincidentally, he used the same company - Essential Consultants, LLC - that he used to pay off Daniels to accept money from a number of suspicious sources, including one Russian billionaire with close ties to Putin.

The FBI also collected recordings Cohen made of his conversations with lawyer Keith Davidson, who previously represented two women - Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal.

Cohen's lawyers have fought in court to restrict prosectors' access to the material seized in those raids. With the recent change in administration, Novartis believed that Michael Cohen could advise the company as to how the Trump administration might approach certain USA healthcare policy matters, including the Affordable Care Act. He didn't provide any documentation to support his claim or explain how he would have acquired such information. "As a result of the sanctions, all USA dollar bank accounts of companies controlled by Renova have been blocked", Reuters reported.

Shortly after the last transaction from Novartis identified by Avenatti, in January, Trump took a meeting with executives including the incoming CEO of Novartis, Vas Narasimhan, during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. That company is partnered with Lockheed Martin in seeking a multi-billion dollar contract for advanced fighter jet training for the military, a contract that is going to be awarded sometime this year.

The Treasury review was reported earlier by the Washington Post.

Reporters swarmed Cohen in NY earlier today, and they got this short response to the allegations made by Avenatti. Vekselberg, too, was reportedly interviewed by investigators for Mueller's team.

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